Guy Boston Sports writers Cam Caldwell, KJ Doyle and Max Lissette team up for this 2019 NBA Mock Draft after Tuesday night's shocking draft lottery results.
1. New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson (F - Duke)
Cam Caldwell: In shocking fashion, the Pelicans came away with the top pick in the draft. This selection seems like a no-brainer, but there is another interesting angle to the story. The Anthony Davis saga is not over yet, and this pick has the chance to sway the big man into staying. New Orleans and new GM David Griffin could also trade AD and potentially receive a profitable haul to pair with Zion. What this franchise does with this pick and Davis is going to be fascinating to watch.
2. Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant (PG - Murray State)
KJ Doyle: RJ Barrett would fit more seamlessly next to Mike Conley in the Grizzlies backcourt than Morant, but it's hard to imagine the Grizzlies would be able to stomach passing on the superior prospect in Morant for Mike Conley's sake. The Grizzlies already tried to deal Conley during the regular season and those talks will likely continue this summer with Memphis in prime position to get their new franchise point guard in Morant. It also doesn't help that Barrett bares some striking similarities to OJ Mayo, the player Memphis traded up to the 3rd overall pick to draft back in 2008. Mayo's bust of a career may make Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace, who was the GM when Memphis drafted Mayo in 2008, a little tentative to use their highest pick in franchise history on a similar player. Rebuilding around Morant and trading Conley for some young assets to surround Jaren Jackson Jr. and Ja Morant with is the Grizzlies best option.
3. New York Knicks: RJ Barrett (SG/SF - Duke)
Max Lissette: After missing out on his superstar Duke teammate, Zion Williamson, the Knicks will have to settle for his sidekick. As the #1 recruit in his class coming out of high school, and a top 3-pick on most big boards, Barrett is no slouch; but missing out on Zion has the potential to be a decades-long “what if” for the franchise. Now, the Knicks must strike gold in free agency if they’re going to land a transcendent talent.
4. Los Angeles Lakers: Jarrett Culver (SG/SF - Texas Tech)
Cam Caldwell: The stout guard out of Texas Tech is an intriguing prospect who many consider to be just outside of the top 3 in the draft in terms of potential. Though he is not explosive, Culver can shoot pretty well from outside and has the size and length to be a formidable inside. If you’re making this pick, you hope Culver can unlock some of his NCAA magic he used to lead the Red Raiders to their first ever Final Four.
5. Cleveland Cavaliers: DeAndre Hunter (F - Virginia)
KJ Doyle: Hunter's length and body type help to make him one of the best defensive prospects in recent NBA draft history. Hunter proved himself to be a player with a strong winning mentality after Virginia's national championship run. Hunter passed on entering last year's draft after Virginia was upset in the first round of the NCAA tournament and opted to return to school in hopes of avenging one of the biggest upsets in the history of college basketball. Hunter did just that with an incredible performance in Virginia's national championship win and showcased one hell of a competitive spirit in the process that a coach fresh out of college like John Beilein is sure to appreciate. Hunter's offensive game has a long way to go, but the potential of him becoming a two-way star with a win first mentality is too much for the Cavaliers to pass up.
6. Phoenix Suns: Brandon Clarke (PF - Gonzaga)
Max Lissette: Despite having a 52% chance at a top-4 pick, the Suns ended up all the way back at #6. For a franchise that’s had 5 coaches in the last 5 years and failed to turn all of their high picks into a solid on-court product, this is just another setback. I’m taking the liberty of assuming that the Suns solve their PG issues in free agency and draft one of the best talents on the board in Brandon Clarke. The athletic forward averaged 17 points & 9 rebounds with 3 blocks a game in his junior year at Gonzaga and would fit nicely alongside last year’s number one pick, DeAndre Ayton.
7. Chicago Bulls: Cam Reddish (SF - Duke)
Cam Caldwell: The highly-touted freshman out of Duke was put on the backburner this season in terms of publicity, but that didn’t stop NBA teams from noticing his potential. Playing alongside ball dominant players like RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson, Reddish had to make his chances count when he got them. A long, athletic wing who can shoot and put the ball on the floor is just something the Bulls need to go with Zach Lavine and Lauri Markkanen.
8. Atlanta Hawks: Bol Bol (C - Oregon)
KJ Doyle: The Hawks have a lot of young talent across their roster with Trae Young, John Collins, Kevin Huerter and Taurean Prince. They arguably only have one position without a high-level prospect: center. With two picks in the top-10, the Hawks can afford to take some level of risk and draft Bol Bol. Bol's game fits perfectly alongside Atlanta's young stars and his pick-and-pop potential with Trae Young could turn into a deadly combination for the Hawks for years to come.
9. Washington Wizards: Coby White (G - UNC)
Max Lissette: The Wizards ended up falling 3 spots in the draft lottery, but unlike the drop some other team’s experienced, this isn’t the end of the world for Washington. With the injured John Wall currently on one of the league’s worst contracts and 2 years left before Bradley Beal hits free agency, drafting and developing a young, promising guard like Coby White now gives Washington the potential to try to move on from Beal or Wall either now or later down the road.
10. Atlanta Hawks: Sekou Doumbouya (F - France)
Cam Caldwell: Doumbouya is a long forward from France. He is relatively unknown outside of NBA circles, but has the chance to be an elite defender in the league. His offense will have to adjust and evolve in the NBA, so this is primarily a pick on potential.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves: Darius Garland (PG - Vanderbilt)
KJ Doyle: Between Derrick Rose, Jeff Teague, Ricky Rubio, Tyus Jones, Kris Dunn and so on, the Timberwolves have been looking for a reliable point guard for a long time. Garland has quickly become a fan favorite prospect who's value should only rise as we get closer to draft night. Garland suffered a meniscus injury in his left knee just 2 minutes into his 5th game of the season, making it difficult to evaluate the talented point guard, but his 19.8 PPG on 53% shooting and 48% from deep in his first 4 games before the injury are certainly eye catching. The Timberwolves have had a horrid history drafting point guards, but hopefully Garland can put an end to all that if Minnesota selects him this year.
12. Charlotte Hornets: Jaxson Hayes (PF/C - Texas)
Max Lissette: If the Hornets get any indication that Kemba isn’t going to re-sign, then this pick could go in many different directions. For the sake of simplicity, I’ll say he’s still in Charlotte and they use this pick on a big man. Hayes’ college stats don’t jump out as anything special, but he’s got the athleticism to make an impact from day one. In just 23 minutes per game at Texas, Hayes averaged 2.2 blocks, proving his presence under the rim will be one of his strong suits as he enters the next level.
13. Miami Heat: Nassir Little (F - UNC)
Cam Caldwell: Coming from North Carolina, Little was projected to be a high lottery pick before the college basketball season. He struggled to get going and was even taken out of the starting lineup, but being in the right system will be very beneficial to him. Little could end up becoming a lot like Justise Winslow who was another Heat player who was drafted maybe a little higher than he should have been, but has developed very nicely.
14. Boston Celtics: Rui Hachimura (PF - Gonzaga)
KJ Doyle: Hachimura is a skilled power forward with a developing shooting touch and would be perfect for the Celtics roster. Guerschon Yabusele hasn't turned into the player the Celtics hoped they were getting when they drafted him 16th overall back in 2016, but Hachimura could certainly step in and fill the role the Celtics had once projected for Yabu. Hachimura has been projected all over the draft board this season, anywhere from 5 to 20, and could be a steal for the Celtics at 14. The Celtics roster is filled with versatile small forwards, but no reliable pure power forwards. While versatility is certainly a good thing and something the Celtics hold in high regard, Boston's lack of players at the position can and has hurt their lineup flexibility. Hachimura would provide the Celtics with a solid option at the 4 without them having to sacrifice any of the versatility they like in their forwards. Hachimura still needs some development as a shooter, rebounder and shot blocker, but has flashed the ability in each area in short spurts throughout the season. The Gonzaga star could one day turn into a key starter for the Celtics at forward next to Jayson Tatum and should help to replace free-agent-to-be Marcus Morris in year one.
15. Detroit Pistons: Romeo Langford (SG - Indiana)
Max Lissette: If Langford falls to the Pistons at 15, they would likely be ecstatic. The 6’6” freshman SG out of Indiana is one of those players who has a wide range of where he could be chosen in the draft. With his height, a 6’11” wingspan, and weighing in at 215 pounds, Langford is a physical specimen, but his shooting will need to improve for him to find success in the NBA. This past year, he shot just 27% from three on nearly 4 attempts a game.
16. Orlando Magic: Kevin Porter Jr. (SG/SF - USC)
Cam Caldwell: Porter Jr. is an interesting player. The versatile wing out of USC averaged less than 10 points per game last season, but always seemed like the best player the Trojans had. This has led to NBA teams questioning his love and passion for the game, but if he gets that straightened out, this could end up being a steal for the Magic.
17. Brooklyn Nets: PJ Washington (PF - Kentucky)
KJ Doyle: The Brooklyn Nets appear set at wing and guard with players like Caris Levert, Joe Harris, D'Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie and Allen Crabbe all expected to come back next season and the team set to chase Jimmy Butler and Kyrie Irving in free agency, but their frontcourt could certainly use some help. PJ Washington is a skilled power forward with a shooting touch that head coach Kenny Atkinson is sure to love. Playing Jared Dudley at center in order to space the floor on offense wasn't working out great for the Nets in the postseason, so bringing in a player who should be a bit more comfortable in a small ball five role in PJ Washington seems like a logical choice for Brooklyn.
18. Indiana Pacers: Nickeil Alexander-Walker (SG - Virginia Tech)
Max Lissette: After watching Tyreke Evans and Wesley Matthews fail to provide Oldaipo with the backcourt support they were hoping for, the Pacers will be happy to have the chance to grab one of the top 5 shooting guards in this class in Alexander-Walker.
19. San Antonio Spurs: Tyler Herro (G - Kentucky)
Cam Caldwell: Herro was a key piece for a Kentucky team who made it to the Elite Eight. With defensive versatility and elite shooting ability, Popovich and the Spurs could have them their shooting guard of the future.
20. Boston Celtics: Ty Jerome (G - Virginia)
KJ Doyle: The Celtics need role players and Jerome is certainly capable of being just that. Boston lacked players who were accepting of smaller roles and playing team first basketball and a player like Jerome profiles as someone that the Celtics can trust to fill that void. Boston also lacked an elite spot-up threat off the bench from three which is a skill Jerome certainly possesses.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Grant Williams (PF - Tennessee)
Max Lissette: Maybe the one position where the Thunder are lacking most is at PF. While Williams doesn’t jump off the screen with his athleticism and is a little undersized for the position, the SEC-player of the year has the intangibles to develop into a solid NBA player.
22. Boston Celtics: Cameron Johnson (SF - UNC)
Cam Caldwell: Another wing player comes off the board as the sharpshooting Johnson out of North Carolina heads to the Celtics. Boston needs shooting and this would be just what the doctor ordered. Johnson would fit right in with Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum on the wing.
23. Utah Jazz: Jontay Porter (PF/C - Missouri)
KJ Doyle: The Jazz could use some skill players in their frontcourt with Derrick Favors and Rudy Gobert both being somewhat limited offensively. Porter would provide them with that once he returns to full health. Porter's stock has fallen significantly after a torn ACL during last season, but he's worth the risk for Utah at 23 with no other major holes to fill on their roster.
24. Philadelphia 76ers: Carsen Edwards (PG - Purdue)
Max Lissette: Edwards made 35% of his three point attempts this past year and showed a knack for scoring in bunches even in the biggest moments. The 42 points that Edwards dropped in the Elite Eight against Virginia was evidence of that ability. He also set the new NCAA Tournament record for 3PM per game at a whopping 7. For a team that seriously lacks shooting, especially at the guard position, Edwards would make an immediate impact off the bench.
25. Portland Trail Blazers: Keldon Johnson (SG/SF - Kentucky)
Cam Caldwell: The one-and-done forward from Kentucky has some major refining to do, but he is already a good shooter and has a high IQ. If he could improve his ball handling, this would be a nice pick up.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers: Bruno Fernando (C - Maryland)
KJ Doyle: The Cavaliers get another defensive prospect from the ACC at 26 with Fernando. Fernando is a talented shot-blocker with the shooting touch that could turn him into a reliable starting center in the NBA one day. The Cavaliers roster is somewhat of a scrambled mess in its current state and while players like John Henson, Ante Zizic, Tristan Thompson, Kevin Love, Larry Nance and RFA Marquese Chriss may make it hard for Fernando to find minutes at first, it shouldn't stop the Cavaliers from taking a player with his intriguing skill set. If anything, the Cavaliers should look to trade some of their older players in the frontcourt for future assets as the team continues its post-LeBron rebuild.
27. Brooklyn Nets: Dylan Windler (SG/SF - Belmont)
Max Lissette: The senior from Belmont averaged 23 and 11 in his final season in the NCAA. Not super athletic or defensively imposing, Windler makes up for it with very strong spot up shooting and his ability to create on the offensive end. He also has a knack for rebounding the ball despite not being a physically dominant player. In a culture like the Nets have been building, a four year college player like Windler would fit right in.
28. Golden State Warriors: Chuma Okeke (F - Auburn)
Cam Caldwell: Not that Kevin Durant can be replaced if he potentially leaves, but the Warriors will need someone to play the position if KD does end up fleeing to New York. Okeke is an Andre Iguodala type player who improved every year at Auburn. Golden State is great at player development, and Chuma could be next in line.
29. San Antonio Spurs: KZ Okpala (SG/SF - Stanford)
KJ Doyle: With Rudy Gay set to walk out the door in free agency, it would behoove the Spurs to look for a replacement in the draft. KZ Okpala is a player perfectly suited for the Spurs to develop into a key rotation piece with his mix of size and skill and he'll have the opportunity to make an impact right away Spurs team with a major hole expected to open up at small forward.
30. Milwaukee Bucks: Goga Bitadze (C - Republic of Georgia)
Max Lissette: Bitadze has the frame to be an imposing force in the NBA, standing nearly 7 feet tall with a 7’2” wingspan. However, questions remain about his ability to deal with the physicality of the league. Luckily, the Bucks are a team who can be patient with a guy like Bitadze as he develops. Goga already has a surprisingly promising three point shot, and we have already seen one 7-footer in Brook Lopez flourish as a three point shooter this year in Milwaukee.
Photo: (Nuccio Dinuzzo - AP Photo)